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saving staple signature bindings



Dear List,

I have been going through the backlog in the conservation lab and have a
question for all of you.  I keep running across numerous multi-signature books
bound with staples through the fold of each signature. These are usually German
imprints from around the turn of the century through the 1920s (roughly). I
have seen these in the past but in this quantity.  My question is what have
others done to conserve this style of binding.

On previous staple bound items, I have tried to remove the staples after I
cleaned the spine of mull and adhesives.  This resulted in making already rusty
staples even more so and increased the rust stains. If rust was not a problem,
removing the staples after cleaning off as much of the adhesive as possible and
then separating the signatures resulted in tearing the folds.  Only in one case
where the paper spine lining had fallen off was I successful in removing the
staples and separating the signatures then was able to resew without having to
repair torn signatures.

Now that I'm facing many of these books, I am hoping someone can tell me the
best way to remove these staples without too much damage so I can sew the books
properly.  If worse comes to worse (and a couple of the books look like worse
case scenarios) I will chop of the folds and adhesive bind them. Surprisingly
the paper in most of the volumes is not overly brittle.

Thanks,
Eric

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Eric C. Alstrom
                         Collections Conservator
Baker Library
Dartmouth College        603-646-1452
Hanover, NH              (fax) 603-646-3702

eric.c.alstrom@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~ealstrom/
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